Recently the United States Department of State ("State Department") announced a new program for administering the exemption of diplomatic missions and their personnel from federal and local motor fuels taxes. As of June 1, 1987, diplomats certified by the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions ("OFM") as eligible for exemption are granted a tax exemption only if the purchase of motor fuel is made by certified diplomatic personnel with special oil company credit cards. Exemptions on cash purchases or non-authorized credit cards are not allowed.

The Department of Revenue has agreed to participate in the State Department's new program. The purpose of this Technical Information Release ("TIR") is to explain the new Department of Revenue procedures for administering the State Department's new program.

Massachusetts tax law imposes an excise on the sale of gasoline and special fuels, including diesel fuels. See G.L. c. 64A; and G.L. c. 64E and c. 64F, respectively. Ambassadors, ministers, and other properly accredited diplomatic representatives of foreign governments are exempt from the gasoline and special fuels excise. See TIR 76-4. Currently the Department of Revenue requires accredited diplomatic missions and their personnel to pay the motor fuels excise at the time of purchase and then to file an application for refund, DOR Form GT-9.

On or after June 1, 1987, the Department of Revenue will not accept or grant applications for refunds for the motor fuels excise paid by accredited diplomatic missions or their personnel. Under the new Department of Revenue procedures, and exemption from the motor fuels excises is available only when the fuel purchased is made by means of a special oil company credit card by diplomatic personnel properly certified by the State Department. The oil company on whose credit card the purchase is made, and not the diplomatic personnel, claims a tax credit on the exempt motor fuels excise. There will be no exemption permitted or refunds granted where diplomatic personnel use unauthorized credit card or make cash purchases.

When State Department certified diplomatic personnel make motor fuel purchases using their special oil company credit cards, the oil company will receive bills from the retail service station that include the sales price of the motor fuel plus the motor fuels excise due. The oil company will bill the certified diplomatic personnel only for the sales price of the fuel. The oil company may claim a tax credit for the motor fuels excise charged to certified diplomatic personnel by completing a DOR Form GT, Schedule 23, when filing its monthly returns and by writing "Sale to Diplomatic Mission" on the schedule. Also, when completing its Schedule 23, the oil company must state the name of each certified diplomat, the certified diplomat's special credit card number, and the number of gallons of motor fuel purchased.

If you have any questions regarding the new Department of Revenue procedures, please direct your questions to:

Jack Frangiamone, Asst. Chief
Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Excise Bureau
100 Cambridge Street, Room 301S
Boston, MA 02204
Telephone: (617) 727-4373

/s/Ira A. Jackson
Ira A. Jackson
Commissioner of Revenue

May 27, 1987

TIR 87-5